Bloedel Conservatory at night.


May 27, 2019

If you’re considering a statement window or glass wall for your next design, you don’t need to go any farther than the city around you for inspiration. Vancouver is consistently rated as one of the best and most beautiful cities in North America. Dubbed ‘The City of Glass,’ Vancouver boasts an impressive collection of architectural achievements.

Here are some of our favorite architectural wonders in Vancouver.

Science World

Science World and Vancouver skyline at dusk.

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Part of the Expo 86 grounds, the Science World geodesic dome was the original Expo Centre and Futures Theatre. Designed by Bruno Freschi, the dome is 155 feet tall and houses a 27 metre (89 foot) diameter OMNIMAX movie screen. Today, the dome sparkles over the harbor with 391 light bulbs.

Although Science World’s dome is its most recognizable feature, the lower floors also boast floor-to-ceiling windows to bring in natural light to the galleries and other public areas. Visitors can enjoy open spaces and high ceilings while learning about everything from BC’s rainforests to how the human body works.

The Qube

Qube Building in Vancouver.

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Although the building at 1333 West Georgia Street has only been called the Qube since 2005, the structure has been on the site since 1969. Originally the headquarters for the Westcoast Transmission Co., the Qube was designed by Rhone and Ireland and was awarded the 1970-1971 Design in Steel Award by the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The Qube is unique in that it was built from the top down. The 13-story core was built first, and then the occupied nine floors were built from a frame suspended by steel and cables. It is considered to be one of the most earthquake-proof buildings in Vancouver. Today, the Qube is a condominium tower with 180 residential units.

Bloedel Conservatory

Bloedel Conservatory at night.

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Built for Canada’s centennial, the elements of the Bloedel Conservatory’s triodetic dome were actually manufactured in Ottawa and shipped across the country, where the dome’s aluminum frame was erected in just 10 days. Opened in 1969, the Conservatory saw a half million visitors in its first year and has welcomed visitors from all over the world ever since.

In 2014, the Conservatory undertook a significant refurbishment project. All 1,400 panels of the dome were replaced. The undertaking is even more impressive when you consider that the panels came in 32 different sizes. Visitors to the Conservatory can enjoy bright sunlight while learning about the 500 species of plants and 100 birds that live inside.

Vancouver Convention Centre West

Vancouver Convention Centre.

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Only 10 years old, the Vancouver Convention Centre West was designed by the LMN, DA Architects & Planners, Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership. With the goal of expanding public access to Vancouver’s waterfront, the centre shows off window walls on all three floors, helping to connect visitors with the water and mountains outside.

The Vancouver Convention Centre West is the world’s first LEED Platinum convention centre. Built on a former brownfield site, the facility covers 14 acres on land and 8 acres over water and offers over a million square feet of convention space. Its central Jack Poole Plaza is open to the public and is the permanent home of the 2010 Olympic Torch.

Vancouver Public Library

Vancouver Public Library Atrium.

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Architects Moshe Safdie, Richard Archambault and Barry Downs won the design competition for the Vancouver Public Library and broke ground in 1993, with the final result opened to the public in 1995. Often compared to Rome’s Colosseum, the library’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer visitors a 360-degree view of the city around them.

The building is multi-functional and includes not only a library but also a reading room, community event space, theatre and public garden that were added during a 2018 renovation. Visitors can now enjoy a gravel Zen garden and view the library’s rooftop garden.

Jameson House

Jameson House.

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Located in the heart of Vancouver’s heritage district, Jameson House is 34 stories of glass soaring over two heritage buildings: the Ceperley Rounsfell Building and the Royal Financial Building. Architects Foster + Partners were brought on to combine living, working and shopping in one location, while maintaining the architectural integrity of the neighborhood.

The design of the glass skyscraper was put together in consideration of prevailing wind patterns and solar exposure. The result is a building with lower than average thermal loads, which helps both commercial and residential occupants manage their energy costs.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum

beaty Biodiversity Museum with whale skeleton.

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Even if you don’t have a whale skeleton to display in your own home, it’s easy to admire the architecture of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. Located on the grounds of the University of British Columbia, the museum was designed by Patkau Architects, and won the 2011 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for architecture.

The museum’s distinctive Mowafaghian Atrium gives people an impressive entry to the building. Two stories of glass show off Canada’s largest blue whale skeleton, letting the natural light play over it in waves like the ocean it left behind.

Feeling inspired? Windows and other glass features are a beautiful way to bring a distinctive touch to your next project, whether commercial or residential. For more inspiration, visit the MINIMAL Glass + Door website.


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